Transcript for How Ramy Youssef is changing the comedy game
Reporter: It's a Friday night at the comedy cellar. New York City's premiere place for standup. And rahmy Yusef is about to take the stage. If you have a girl problem -- I grew up in a family that didn't talk about sex at all. I'm Muslim, and it didn't come up at all. Any muslims here? Oh, yeah? Did you guys talk about sex? Reporter: A Jersey boy and son of Egyptian immigrants, rahmy is here to flip the I believe all the women. None of them have a reason to lie. The other reason I believe them is men? Yeah, we're not good. Reporter: It's been a breakout year for the comedian. It's crazy. Reporter: First known for making a splash in the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and "Mr. Now he has his own series coined rahmy in a new HBO special. We're not trying to provide answers. I don't think that's job of film or comedy. I think the only job we have or I have is to disrupt the context. Reporter: The show is loosely based on his life, a millennial Muslim with the drawn desires of growing up in American society. This is the perfect time for people to see this family, absolutely. If anything, the timing is too late. I think we've been talking around what it means to be Muslim but never actually talking to muslims. Never actually talking to Arabs. Reporter: It's a look into the nuanced American experience, in a way that very few shows have dared to go. From speaking arabic. Please, soft on the driving. Reporter: To attending the mosque to daily prayer. It was really important to show arabic being spoken, to show prayer in this show, because the way that our language has been framed in media and in this country is devastating. Reporter: Ramie said getting people to buy in wasn't easy. When we first tested our pilot and our show started at a mosque with people speaking arabic. And for the first ten minutes they thought the show was about terrorism and a drama in the vein of "Homeland". It took them almost to the halfway point when I was on a date with a girl named Chloe for them to say oh, maybe this sh a comedy. Reporter: For rahmy, one key was featuring his childhood best friend Steve way. Way has muscular dystrophy, a disease that causes massive muscle loss. The two invited me to their high school stomping grounds in Rutherford, New Jersey. This is where it all started? Yeah. Reporter: The real connection between you? It really started here. My first project, we worked on it together. With a small, 13-inch TV. I borrowed it from the school and I broke it. Rahmy's freakin' out. Reporter: Came out with a bang, huh? Just tell them I knocked it off. That was the beginning of Steve taking the fall for everything. Reporter: And that's continued, huh? Yeah, all the time. Because you can't get mad at Steve. Yeah, he knows. Reporter: Diversity on the show didn't mean just showing his own truth, but showing Steve's as well. I miss you so much, man. . It made me feel comfortable during that show is that rahmy was very adamant at making sure everything I did was specific to like the end of episode three, with the mom when she grinds up my pain pill. That's exactly how my mom would do that. She's not my vibe. . Reporter: Steve says beyond the laughs, the opportunity was a chance to break down barriers for his community. You don't really see people like me on television. Or, if you see someone who is supposed to be me, they don't look like me. And their stories are not truly what we go through. When you see rahmy, you see me, my character, and you think, oh, he's a jerk, just like me. If it wasn't for rahmy pushing for me, who knows what would have happened. Reporter: At the end of the day, it's just two friends with undeniable chemistry, living out their childhood dream. What's it mean having this guy around, having your best friend around on the set? It's amazing just getting to make something with your friend. It was weird. We've been doing it since high school. It's just cool to do it with bigger cameras. Reporter: Oh, how things have changed. In addition to their work together, rahmy is preparing for the launch of his standup special "Feelings". I get really upset every time I get a white Uber driver. Devastated. Like I look down on my phone. I see the little white face. And I'm just like . I'm going to be late. So much of it is just about asking questions. That's the work that we do, and that's the thing that I'm most excited about is to just have anyone who watches it be a little less convinced or convicted in whatever stance that they hold. Going to stop at every stop sign. Reporter: Back at the comedy cellar, a rising star. I get so mad. There is a correlation between what you do here and what we see on your show. There's a huge correlation with what happens in these rooms with only a couple hundred people and what ends up being on TV. It's really exciting to link the two. I was talking to this woman, she found out I was Muslim, and she goes right away, why do you make them wear that? And I was like, who? Where what? I was on a date with a woman in New York in January. It was 7 degrees. Fahrenheit. And she was wearing the shortest dress that I've ever seen. And we got out of the car, and we were like two blocks away, and she's like where is it? I'm like it's over here. She was shivers. She was so cold. She couldn't move that fast beca E slowing and I was like, man, why do they make her wear that? Thank you guys. Reporter: For "Nightline," Zachary kiesch in New York.
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